Br ing ing Back the Bay
Number 59 Winter 2007/2008 BARC Newsletter
Federal Government Grants $30 Million
to the Clean-Up of Randle Reef
BY CINDY SMITH, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
n Friday, November 9,
the Honourable John
B a i r d , M i n i s te r of t h e
Environment, David Sweet,
Member of Parliament
for A n c a s t e r- D u n d a s -
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
Mike Wallace, Member of
Parliament for Burlington,
announced that the
G ove r n m e nt of Ca n ad a
was investing $30 million to
clean-up the contaminated sediment at Randle Reef.
BARC was honoured to have its very own Jim Hudson
capping and containing the toxic coal tar deposits late next
asked to MC the event and to have our Board President, Scott
year or early in 2009.
Koblyk, asked to speak as well. The federal government’s
contribution, together with the $30 million pledged by the “Delivering action to cleaning up the Great Lakes and our
provincial government in August, will make it possible to start Canadian waters is important for this government,” said
Minister Baird. “We know that Randle Reef is a priority and
that is why our government is putting its funding on the table
immediately to ensure that the Hamilton lakefront returns to
TABLE OF CONTENTS productive economic and recreational use for the benefit of
us and our children.”
Bay Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 2
Shoreline Cleanup a The Minister was welcomed by Hamilton Mayor Fred
Huge Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 3 Eisenberger, Burlington Mayor Cam Jackson and many other
Time to Hit the Beaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 4 local politicians, environmentalists, scientists and business
leaders including MPs David Christopherson and Wayne
A Fish on the Fence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 5
Marston, President and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority,
A Goose's Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 6 Keith Robson, John Shaw, John Hall and BARC’s former
RAP Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 7
Executive Director, Marilyn Baxter.
The Bay Area Restoration Council is at the centre of community efforts to revitalize Hamilton Harbour and its watershed.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 1
Season’s Greetings from BARC!
The staff at BARC would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous new year!
BARC Welcomes Co-Op Student
BARC extends a warm welcome to Val Duncescu. Val is a Westdale High School student who is doing her co-op term
with us. Val has a number of duties around the office. Her main project is to research information for our upcoming
Toward Safe Harbours report, which will focus on beach closures. Val is also a participant in our Adopt-a-Creek
program this year. Welcome Val!
Classroom Mini Marsh Program Growing
Over 270 elementary school classrooms in and around Hamilton participated in our Classroom Mini Marsh program this
year, an increase of 50 classrooms from last year!
2008 Dates to Remember
January 23 BARC’s Wine Tasting & Silent Auction in Support of Our Harbour
Mid-March BARC’s Community Workshop
April 26 Earth Day Tree Planting
May 21–23 Children’s Water Festival
June 14 Nature Walk for Our Environment
For information on these and other events, please visit our events page at http://www.hamiltonharbour.ca/events.
BAY AREA RESTORATION COUNCIL
Life Sciences Building – B130F
Bringing Back the Bay is published four times per
1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1
year. Articles in this newsletter reflect the views of
Tel: (905) 527-7111 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org the individual contributors. Your comments and
www.hamiltonharbour.ca letters to the editor are encouraged.
Newsletter Editor: Cindy Smith
President: Scott Koblyk Newsletter Design: Launchbox Inc.
Executive Director: Jim Hudson
Communications Manager: Cindy Smith Funding for this newsletter generously provided by the Ontario
Project Coordinator: Kelly Pike Ministry of the Environment.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 2
Shoreline Cleanup a Huge Success!
BY KELLY PIKE, PROJECT COORDINATOR
O n Saturday, September 22, the Bay
Area Restoration Council held its 5th
annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Over 80 volunteers came out to clean up the
trail between Princess Point and Bayfront
Park. In just two hours, volunteers collected
more than 80 bags of garbage. This trash
would otherwise have endangered wildlife
and ruined enjoyment of the trail by the
public. This year was especially successful
as water levels were very low and we were
able to reach debris not normally visible,
including tires, old bikes, pylons and several
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
a national campaign run by the Vancouver
Aquarium and sponsored generously by
TD Canada and the TD Friends of the
Environment Foundation. What started over
14 years ago as a small beach cleanup by
four Vancouver Aquarium employees has
now grown into the second largest cleanup
in the world.
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
PHOTO: KELLY PIKE
A special thank you to those who came out
to help. We hope to see you again next year!
Thank you also to those who brought along
canoes. You retrieved garbage that the rest
of us could not. A job well done by all!
BARC Puts Down Roots at Marsh
BY MICHELLE BERQUIST AND ANDREA CABAN, BARC SUMMER STUDENTS
V olunteer planters trooped into Cootes Paradise again
this year for BARC’s Annual Marsh Volunteer Plantings,
to support the Royal Botanical Gardens’ marsh restoration
which were dug out, restoring marsh conditions. The excess
soil was used to form mounds onto which native species are
projects. 15 volunteers loaded down with hip waders, rubber
boots, gloves and trowels spent two beautiful mornings This annual program is a great opportunity for those of us
planting various native marsh plant species to restore the who enjoy and care about Hamilton and its watershed to
natural landscape. directly participate in sustaining the health and beauty of the
Originally an area filled in with sediment runoff from agricultural
lands, the marsh was recreated by producing high and low BARC is looking forward to next year’s Marsh Volunteer
areas. Water from Cootes Paradise now fills in the low areas, Plantings and we hope you will consider joining us.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 3
Time to Hit
We now know that beach pollution is primarily due to
“goose poop” (to use a non-scientific term). Researchers at
Canada’s National Water Research Institute, located at the
BY JIM HUDSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR &
Canada Centre for Inland Waters, have used new tools to
prove this link. In doing so, they have eliminated waste water
plant effluent and industrial pollution as suspected causes.
KELLY PIKE, PROJECT COORDINATOR They even managed to rule out dogs and cats by taking their
“poop scoops” to the pound.
T he fall and winter may
seem more like the
time of year to hit the books
Of major concern is that the level of bacteria from fecal matter
is highest in the sand right near the water’s edge and in the
rather than the beach, yet water at ankle depth. Unfortunately, that is exactly where
it is a very good time to get young children prefer to play.
going on what we can do
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
to ensure that our beaches Many approaches to beach management are being piloted at
are open more of the time waterfronts across North America. Let’s see if we can adopt
in summers to come. some ‘best practices’ for our waterfront.
With that in mind, BARC’s
Monitoring Committee has
selected the topic of beach pollution as its area of focus for
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
this year and the subject of our 2008 Towards Safe Harbour
report. Hamilton Works’ Andy Sebestyen has agreed to
lead this effort as Chair of the committee. In addition to the
returning committee members who produced this year’s
report card, Kelly Pike will be the BARC staff person helping
drive this forward.
Fire in Dundas: Pesticide Plant Spurs
BY CHERYL DE BOER, BARC DIRECTOR interested citizens who are committed to following up on
the actions of Biedermann and the responsible authorities
I n late July, the Biedermann Pesticide Packaging Plant
located in the Dundas Industrial Park caught fire which
resulted in the discharge of toxic materials into Spencer
to ensure that actions are taken that are in the best interests
of the community and Spencer Creek. BARC has become
an active member of this group and is interested in a
Creek from the douse water used to fight the fire. This number of issues including the adequacy of the regulation of
caused the immediate death of thousands of fish and will Ontario pesticide through the Ontario Pesticide Act and the
likely have lasting impacts on the health of the creek and the development of community Right to Know legislation.
receiving waters of Cootes Paradise. The facility is involved
in the storage and packaging of various pesticides, which is Additionally, The City of Hamilton has requested a Province
why the effects on the stream were so severe. led inquiry into the events that occurred that evening. This
also has the backing of local MPP Ted McMeekin, though no
In the aftermath of this unfortunate situation, a number of official response from the Ministry of the Environment has yet
individuals were left questioning how and why this was able to been made public.
happen and equally important, how this could be prevented
from happening again. The initial result was a public meeting The good work done to date remediating the Harbour should
organized by Environment Hamilton where information was not be jeopardized by accidents such as this. Everything
given to the public from a Biedermann representative, the possible should be done to prevent it from happening again.
Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Hamilton Fire Fighters, All interested parties are encouraged to contact BARC,
a local biologist who preformed testing and others. This Environment Hamilton or their local MPP for more information
meeting led to the development of a working group of or ways that they can get involved in this local action.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 4
A Fish on the Fence
BY KELLY PIKE, PROJECT COORDINATOR
I f you see wooden fish on school
fences in your neighbourhood, it
isn’t poor eyesight. On October 17
and 19, BARC staff members, Cindy
and Kelly, were trained for the new
Stream of Dreams™ program. This
program combines education and art
to increase community awareness
about watershed health. Af ter
learning about the local watershed,
students paint wooden fish. These
fish are hung collectively on the
school fence as a mural, enhancing
the beauty of the neighbourhood and
reminding the community that we all
live in a watershed.
backside of a storage building along the waterfront, are
The Stream of Dreams™ program is expected to go
proudly displayed to trail users and boaters as they pass.
over quite well in our area. During Hamilton Port Days
this past August, children were able to paint some of the This will be BARC’s biggest educational program to date.
program’s wooden fish thanks to Jim Harnum’s group The program is run with the whole school, reaching every
partnership and funding through the Hamilton Waterfront student. The resulting mural is nothing short of spectacular.
Trust’s Hamilton Fishing Derby. The fish, mounted on the Stay tuned!
Fishy Business at Mac
BY KELLY PIKE, PROJECT COORDINATOR
O n Saturday, September 29, six students from McMaster
University traded in their textbooks and lab coats for
jigsaws and paint smocks. The goal: to prepare wooden fish
The students were taking part in Mac Serve, a project
coordinated by the Service Learning Department at McMaster
University in partnership with Volunteer Hamilton. Students
for the Stream of Dreams™ program. were placed in organizations throughout the city to make a
difference through hands-on volunteer work.
Thank you to our six Mac Serve students, as well as to those
who supplied materials. A special thank you to those who
stopped by to give us a hand. Our community will be more
beautiful because of it!
B ARC needs volunteers to help make plywood fish for its
PHOTO: MURRAY THOMPSON
new Stream of Dreams™ program. The fish are made
from ½ inch plywood and come in a variety of shapes and
sizes. Anyone with experience using a jig or band saw would
be much appreciated. We also need people to sand and
paint the fish with a base coat. We have nearly 1,300 students
already registered for the program, so we need lots of help!
For more information please contact Kelly at BARC.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 5
An Exciting Look at Our Harbour’s Past
BY CINDY SMITH, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
B ARC proudly presented the first public viewing of “The
People and the Bay, The Story of Hamilton Harbour” at its
fourth annual History Night.
In this documentary film, produced by the L.R. Wilson Centre for
Canadian History and Pixel Dust Studios, McMaster University
historians Nancy Bouchier and Ken Cruikshank presented
people, places and events from our city’s past.
BARC had a record turn out at the event and thanks everyone
who came out and helped make this year’s history night a great
A Goose’s Life: Irony on the Beach
BY SCOTT KOBLYK, PRESIDENT, BARC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
I love bread. LOVE it. I could eat bread twenty-four-seven.
And grass, I love grass too. Especially nicely mown grass.
bring us free food. And they do! So we stick around the
beach eating and dropping goose dumplings. Then the
fecal coliform mixes with water and soaks into the sand so
it’s difficult to clean up, and the little kids get to dig around
Frankly, I just love eating. I’ll eat almost anything. Sometimes, in it, and it contaminates the shallow water near the shore.
I’ll eat a rock just because I can. My digestive system is a Suddenly, you’ve got yourself a fine example of bacteria
freaking miracle of evolution. It’s so efficient, it cranks out in action and the beach gets closed and we geese get the
two pounds – TWO POUNDS – of luscious, green waste every whole thing to ourselves. Awesome!
day. Seriously, if there were a world championship for going
Number Two, my fellow geese and I would totally dominate. The absolute best part is that the humans are making such an
I probably do my business sixty times a day. You humans effort to clean up the harbour – and we appreciate it, honestly
think you’re hot stuff if you do it twice. Amateurs. – but then we geese ruin the beaches with poop. Nice job
by us. I’m not exactly sure what “irony” means, but this is
The beauty of goose probably a pretty good example.
poop is that it’s packed
with fecal coliform. I’m Sadly for us, people could keep us off their beaches if they
not sure what that is really wanted to. Put up some exclusion fences or vegetative
because I’m a goose and barriers, keep the mown grass back from the water, use
never took biology, but I flags and streamers, and maybe even some motion-sensing
know it’s nasty. sprinklers and suddenly, the beach isn’t so fun for a goose.
PHOTO: MICHAEL GRIFFIN
But mostly, they could just stop feeding us. If they did, we’d
My friends and I love go somewhere else. It’s not like we can’t find food pretty
ha nging ou t whe re much everywhere. Geese may be stupid, but we’re not
there’s grass and easy dumb. We’re also hungry.
access from the land
to the water and back BARC president, Scott Koblyk,
– a place like a beach, writes a weekly on-line humour column
for example. Beaches are so great for geese, in fact, that at www.sundaymonkey.ca
the only way they could be better would be to have people
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 6
RAP Office Update
From the RAP Office RAP Office
by John D. Hall MCIP, RPP Canada Centre for Inland Waters
Hamilton Harbour RAP Coordinator 867 Lakeshore Road, Box 5050
John.Hall@ec.gc.ca Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6
Going Back to School
B ARC released its report card in its last newsletter with
the headline “Significant Progress Since 2002.” While
we have passing grades in each category, the Hamilton
It is the big projects, however, that will lead us to delisting
in 2015. Randle Reef construction must get underway in
2008/09. This is becoming more of a reality with funding
Harbour Remedial Action Plan (HHRAP) has tough ‘parents’ commitments announced by both the provincial and the
- the community and only straight ‘A’s will do. federal governments. Upgrades to the Hamilton and Halton
wastewater treatment systems are being planned that will
The Bay Area Implementation Team (BAIT) is the 18-member create the water quality conditions required to meet delisting
group charged with carrying out the many remedial actions. criteria and support fish and wildlife restoration. Federal
In fact, their work plan, updated for 2006 to 2011, contains / provincial infrastructure funding programs will need to
185 tasks to accomplish the delisting of Hamilton Harbour as support these initiatives if they are to be constructed within
an “Area of Concern” under the Great Lakes Water Quality the required time frame.
During the past year, the HHRAP Technical Team has been
Congratulations to the Hamilton Waterfront Trust for coming working hard to evaluate Harbour conditions and proposed
home with an ‘A’ for providing wonderful public access to remedial actions. This is a major reassessment of the HHRAP
the Harbour. It is this public connection to the Harbour that delisting objectives and was called for in the original HHRAP
pushes the other BAIT members to work hard at their various documents of 1992.
Yes, significant progress has been made since the start of
Beach openings got the lowest score, a ‘D.’ When presenting the HHRAP, but we have some of the hardest and most costly
the report card to Hamilton Council, Jim Hudson and I were work ahead of us if we are to meet the challenge of bringing
asked, “why is the money not allocated to get the beaches home straight ‘A’s for the Bay. Are we ready?
open?” Jim put it back to council, “provide the funding for
the Hamilton Parks Department to keep gulls and geese off
the beaches … the harbour water arriving at the beaches
meets swimming standards. It is the birds on the beaches
contaminating the swimming.”
The biggest positive change in the report card (close to a ‘B’
average) was the area of Watershed Management. Hamilton
is planning for a more compact urban growth pattern
intended to better utilize infrastructure. This, combined
with the Provincial Greenbelt legislation and Places to Grow
PHOTO: CINDY SMITH
requirements, creates conditions for a more sustainable
future. Strong environmental protection for natural lands
is now identified in the Hamilton, Burlington and Halton
Official Plans. Moving from a ‘B’ average to an ‘A’ will require
municipalities to put into practice their best intentions.
Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 7
Wine Tasting & Silent Auction In
Support of Hamilton Harbour
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club
Join BARC and special guest, Sunni Genesco as Master
of Ceremonies, for a wine tasting and silent auction as
we raise money in support of our bay. Enjoy a buffet of
hot and cold appetizers against the backdrop of our
6:00 p.m.: Doors Open & Silent Auction Begins
8:30 p.m.: Silent Auction Begins to Close
For tickets, visit hamiltonharbour.ca, call
905-527-7111, or email us at email@example.com.
Photo: Brian Henley
For more information on this and other events, please visit our website at www.hamiltonharbour.ca/events
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Bringing Back the Bay Winter 2007/2008 8